(The Atlantic) — Fifty-four percent of African Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners remain there as adults (compared to 31 percent of whites). Likewise, 46.5 percent of blacks born into the second and middle fifth of income earners—the lower-middle and middle class, respectively—end up in the bottom fifth of income earners by adulthood. The reasons for widespread downward mobility are complicated, but here are a few possibilities: on the whole, African Americans have few assets and are more likely to be in substantial debt. Moreover, middle-class African Americans are more likely to work in lower-income jobs and careers—nursing, teaching, etc.—and less likely to live in areas with rising or high housing values.
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